Dunstable's Conservation Area — You Can Get Involved in Dunstable's Heritage

Dunstable is one of sixty-eight historic high streets across England to have been offered government funding from Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme. 

From August 2020 until 2024 Dunstable Town Council will be working with Historic England and several other partners to deliver the HSHAZ programme. The HSHAZ focuses on a key stretch of the High Street falling within the Dunstable Conservation Area. It includes an area fronting High Street South and adjoining Middle Row and Ashton Square and on the opposite side of the road, it extends to the rear of Priory House and includes Priory Gardens.

This HSHAZ programme involves building works and refurbishment and a cultural programme.

Building work and refurbishment 

– undertaking physical works to properties in the HSHAZ area. The properties are still to be determined but will include Priory House. Priory House has been owned by Dunstable Town Council since 2005 and is currently on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register:

“C18 house on site of Priory guesthouse with C13 medieval undercroft and some pre-Georgian cellars. The undercroft, built in Totternhoe stone, is subject to complex structural movement and dampness issues. Excess surface water remains a significant agent of decay undermining the Totternhoe stone foundations and front wall causing further instability. Historic England High Street Heritage Action Grant awarded and Priory House will be repaired as part of this scheme.”

It is anticipated that work to Priory House undertaken as part of the HSHAZ will allow for its removal from the At Risk register. The project, led by The Morton Partnership  will develop proposals to repair the vaults and adapt the building environment to conserve the historic fabric for the future.

Cultural Programme 

– cultural activities and events led by the Dunstable Cultural Consortium

Historic England is working on the cultural programme in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England. The Dunstable Cultural Consortium, will be planning and delivering the cultural programme. The Consortium involves several existing local organisations, groups and societies along with individuals who will be coming together as one to deliver the cultural programme. 

  • If you have any queries or suggestions please contact the Consortium.

Did you know

 – there is an exhibition space in the upstairs rooms at Priory House? The Consortium are going to create a new display on Augustinian Dunstable as one of their initial pilot projects.

Keep Up

Would you like to keep up to date or get involved with HSHAZ news? If you want to know more about the programme or have any queries, please do get in touch with Becky Wisbey (Head of Community Services) and Michelle Collings (High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme Manager) who can be contacted via

Keep up to date with all the news and updated from the HSHAZ scheme by signing up with their online form

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